Monday, February 6, 2012

Morrill's Monday Morning Mashup - 2/6/12


creative combination
or mixing of content
from different sources.

The last week reinforced something I've known all along: Technology is both a blessing and a curse.

The blessing was my cell phone. One rainy night last week as I drove home from Tulsa, my tire pressure light came on. I was five miles onto a dark, windy, lonely country road, so I tapped the light and hoped it would go off. It didn't, and within two minutes came the awful, whiny, rumbling sound of a flat tire. In the pouring rain, I searched for a place to pull over, but muddy ditches lined both sides of the road. At last, I approached a gravel driveway and pulled off the road. I prayed for a cell phone signal.

Relieved to find a signal, I called my husband, then AAA. I have to say, AAA is the modern day version of a knight in shining armor. From the representative on the phone to the husband and wife team who came to my rescue, they were friendly and professional, even as they got wet and muddy in the pouring rain, changing my flat tire.

It scares me to think about what the night would have been like had I not had a cell phone. I would have either had to wait to be rescued by hopefully a kind soul, or I would have had to walk to a house and ask for help. Oh, I guess I could have changed the tire myself, too.

I saw technology as a curse when my Internet was up and down most of the weekend. Even when it was up, it was painfully slow. I realized how much I depend on the Internet, not only to stay in touch, but to conduct business: paying bills, purchase airline tickets, research for my book, even research for this mashup. When the Internet is down, all of that comes to a stop. And when it's slow, I sit in front of the computer, pulling my hair out.

I guess it'd be more appropriate to say we've gotten so accustomed to the Internet being blessing that we feel cursed when suddenly it's taken away. We have cursed ourselves by becoming so reliant on its blessing.

Now . . . on to the mashup!

Agent Kristin Nelson (Nelson Literary Agency, LLC) has an excellent blog where she regularly posts invaluable information on being an agent as well as blogging on the publishing industry. Her "Agenting 101" series provides information on almost anything you might want to know about the agenting process. Her style is easy and friendly, but also very blunt and to-the-point. I also like that at the beginning of her posts, she lets us know what music is playing on her iPod.


Another agent, Janet Reid of Fine Print Literary Management, posts on the blog, Query Shark. This is an excellent blog on the querying process, where writers can submit their queries for honest (okay, sometimes brutally honest) critique. The great thing about the blog is that Ms. Reid shares the critique so that we can all learn from it.


The Center for Fiction has created a website so full of information, I'm still exploring my way through it. But the page, "For Writers" contains relevant topics such as "Writers on Writing" and "The Book Business." It's an excellent website to sit down and peruse with your morning cup of coffee.



And then the day came
when the risk to remain
tight in a bud was
more painful than the
risk to bloom.
               ---Anais Nin


  1. Good morning Jan! First of all I'm glad you made it home safe on that dark, wet, and lonely night. Yes, technology is both a blessing and a curse. The Internet is an invaluable source of information for both home and professional use. I perform a lot of research on the Internet at work for various projects. The Internet is used in our home to conduct homework, home remedies, home improvement projects, communication (email, skype, fax), you name it. On the negative side the Internet can be addictive. The kids or kid in my case can spend too much time on the Internet while neglecting their home work; not to mention their social skills. My step daughter use to text over 10000 messages in a month. I made the mistake of printing out her texts one day to show her. It was over 99 pages. When I checked the times of the texts, they were during school hours and late into the night. Texting took over her life. I don't know how many phones she went through. She literally wore them out. This turned out longer than I intended so I'll end this as I can go on and on.

    1. Victor, I'm so thankful my kids were out of their teenage years by the time texting became popular. They had cell phones, but only used them in case of emergency. What a challenge parents have with their kids and technology these days!

  2. Glad to know you were safe and 'saved' by AAA! Haven't tried Query Shark yet, but will put that on the list. As for Ms. Nelson, I've interviewed her in the past and I think she's a top professional.
    Linda Joyce

    1. Thanks, Linda! I've met Kristin Nelson at conferences, pitched to her and attended one of her sessions, and I agree completely -- top notch, and so supportive of writers.

  3. I completely agree about technology being both a curse and a blessing. It is wonderful when we need it but so distracting from real life as well. I get so frustrated when I see people texting or talking on the phone when they're sitting across from someone at a restaurant. I think that is so rude. I, too, am glad my daughter is old enough that she didn't have a cell phone during her teenage years. She has one now but doesn't abuse it.

    Victor, I cannot believe your stepdaughter texted 10,000 times in a month. I gasped when I thought it was 1,000 times and reread your post. That IS a problem. I bet it did blow up when you printed out her texts, though. Ouch. I can imagine how my own stepdaughters would react. lol Parent and teachers have a real challenge with this today.

    Jan, I wish you wouldn't drive down those lonely, country roads. Is there another way you can go--like a busy interstate?! Thank goodness for your cell and AAA. Glad you're okay.

    Finally, I have followed both of these agents. They are top-notch. Janet is a bit scary but her snarky posts are entertaining. I haven't yet had the nerve to send her a query letter to nitpick in public but I may do it someday. Thanks, Jan.

    1. Thanks, Beth. I'll admit, that night was a little scary, but I tried to look at it as an opportunity to sit quietly and breathe. :)